Belief In Jesus No Matter What?

A critical question every Christian should ask themselves is this: is there anything that would make you not believe in Christianity? For many, the answer is at the ready before the question can fully be asked. “No!” they say, “There is absolutely nothing that can ever make me not believe!” As faithful an answer as this may seem, it’s not a very good one.

Conspicuously before us is one matter that should make any Christian pack it up and never return to a church. If Jesus isn’t raised from the dead, there is absolutely no point to the Christian faith. Sure, you still have the really good teachings and morality of Jesus, but if He isn’t raised from the dead, He’s an out-right liar and should not be trusted. You see, the resurrection from the dead is the linchpin argument upon which Jesus staked His claim! Did He support the claim? If He skipped out on it; if the tomb of Easter wasn’t actually empty; if the disciples or some random gardener did break in and steal the body; if Jesus is still dead and buried somewhere, then the Christian faith is vain and every poor sap who’s ever been taken in by it deserves complete pity.

So did He? Did Jesus actually rise from the dead? We have the four Gospel accounts from Easter morning. We learn that the tomb was sealed up as well as it possibly could be to prevent tampering and theft of the body inside. We also learn that armed guards were stationed at the tomb to keep watch and prevent any kind of tomfoolery that could lead to people thinking Jesus was actually raised. All four Gospels tell the story of a tomb surprisingly open and miraculously empty. What’s more, Jesus body was found later that day! Alive! Jesus – living, breathing Jesus – was seen later that day by most of His disciples, several women, and a couple guys on a walk home to Emmaus. They spoke with Him. They touch Him. They saw Him with their own eyes. Again and again, for forty days, Jesus spent time with them fully alive! At one point He was even seen by 500 people! There is no doubt from the evidence that Jesus is alive!

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:17-20)

For the one who would doubt Christianity, this is the point with which he must contend. The claims and miracles and teachings all must first be measured against the truthfulness and trustworthiness of the Man. Did He do what He said He would do? Is Christ raised from the dead?

YES!!

Because Christ is raised from the dead, everything that He said is true and all that He did is for you! His death was died in your place. His resurrection is the guarantee of your eternal life. His promises of forgiveness, mercy, peace, and life are trustworthy! Jesus Christ is most certainly raised from the dead! Christianity stands or falls on this point. Christ lives! The church stands! Christ lives . . . for you!

Dear Jesus, you live! Today I come to you thankful for your trustworthiness and for calling me to saving faith by Your Holy Spirit. Keep me in this true faith; bring others in as well. Amen.

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When God’s People Pray

Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. (Exodus 32:12b)

God’s mind was made up. He had tolerated these stiff-necked, wicked people long enough. His legendary patience had worn thin. To Moses, God unveiled His plan to annihilate His chosen people and start from scratch with him, Moses.

It all started with 400 years’ worth of cries for mercy. From plagues of blood and frogs, lice to locusts, darkness to death, the people were finally freed to go. When their backs were up against the sea, God moved the sea.

But when the unleavened bread was eaten up and the sacrificed lambs were fully digested, they feared God couldn’t provide. As if the God who just walked them through the middle of the sea would forget something as crucial as food! They longed to have full stomachs. So God rained down miraculous food from heaven! And that was nice too . . . for awhile. Before long, however, they were complaining about the lack of variety to their diet!

It gets worse. When the cat’s away, the mice shall play as the saying goes. While Moses was on the mountain conversing with God on their behalf, they were making different plans. They thought Moses was okay and the God who led them out of slavery was nice, but they wanted more. They needed something else. Something . . . tangible. Dutifully they went to their priest, Aaron, demanding a solution to their longing. Aaron made them a young cow of gold and proclaimed it was God.

These are the people God chose out of all the people on the face of the earth. It turns out God doesn’t take too kindly to such slanderous mockery and He became, well, utterly upset. Judgment and punishment were to come swiftly and decisively. These scoundrels have shown once and for all they deserve nothing more than death, so death they shall receive. God’s plan “B” was to wipe them out and start over.

The only thing standing between God and devastation: Moses and a bold prayer. Stepping forward to face the righteous wrath of the Lord, Moses dared speak a word against this new plan. “Please,” Moses begged, “please spare them. Please remember your promises. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Remember your mercy. Remember not their great sins. They are stiff-necked, no doubt. They have earned your wrath, I don’t deny it. But please have mercy. Please do not leave us. Remember how you told me you knew me by name. Remember when you said I found favor in your sight. Do not forsake us.”

It was a bold move. Moses threw caution to the wind and appealed to the God he knew and trusted. And God heard Moses’s prayer. God listened to the prayer of Moses and relented of His wrath.

God always listens to the prayers of His people! For whom can you cry out this day? Who needs intercessory prayers for their days ahead? Boldly come before your Lord and know He listens. That He hears and acts. Come before the Lord in the name of Jesus!

Good and Gracious Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, I boldly come before you today on behalf of ___________ asking for your grace, favor, and mercy. Lead and guide him/her through these days and grant your blessings. Amen.